National Poetry Day – Choices

Earlier this week it was National Poetry Day, with the theme for 2021 being ‘Choices’. It felt like a very fitting theme, given all the changes and uncertainty we are having to adjust to. Admittedly, I am two days late (would it really be Misspraxic if I weren’t?!)… I still wanted to mark this day by sharing a few of my poems.

I wrote the first poem this week, on the theme of ‘Choices’ – my poem is about centering yourself as a priority when making difficult choices, which is not always easy to do. I wrote the following poems at various points during my first year in teaching, to try and express the experience of teaching and learning through the pandemic – I hope they can resonate with some of you in some way!

Next week is Dyspraxia Awareness Week – the theme is ‘Primary and Secondary Education’, so I will aim to post about this and share another set of poems about dyspraxia then. In the meantime, have a look at the Foundation’s website for resources and information about how you can get involved in Awareness Week.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments, and do check out other poems and brilliant resources from the National Poetry Day website here.

Until next time, take care everyone.

– Misspraxic

1. the uninvited visitor

she didn’t choose the uninvited visitor

who ‘forgot’ to knock every time

and pushed into the line without a pass

she didn’t choose to press the pause button

when in full flow, targeted by the visitor

who jammed the system into overdrive

and no, she didn’t choose to be chronically

dysfunctional, beating a skip and

skipping a beat, her paper heart in shreds

what was that you just said?

no, she didn’t choose for her wires to fizz and flare,

numbed into discomfort. she didn’t choose to count

the dead ends at this crossroads,

drained, there was now no space left but to

pause                       and listen to the currents

that kept the machine whizzing on and resist its pull

and as she made the decision to ‘re-start’,

she could see a blank canvas sky

graced with stars of connection,

where she could still choose to paint

the warmest smile and still hug the empty corners with her hope.

creased all over, she could still choose to hold on

despite the visitor’s prodding and pricking, she knew

the interference would grow duller and defeated as time went on,

as she could now see it clearly: she must choose herself everyday

2. Freedom Day?

Today’s date is July 19th 2021 and today we are learning about ‘question forms’

and questions form on the page, as forming questions

becomes our Learning Objective that’s etched

onto my pages too. we run in parallel, a mirror lesson from me to you to me again,

from pixellated Chrome lessons in my living room and back

to the pandemic classroom where you are confined

to a jagged danger line, disjointed and perhaps

a warning sign that this safe box got crossed just too    many    times,

as we were pushed to ‘think outside the box’ in our teaching,

a word used loosely now, ‘teaching’ from my living room

on ‘Freedom Day’, pestering students to pop their gum in the bin

and just listen      to the sounds of Miss, “you’re laggin”

and muted tones and shuffled seats,

a futile command to “listen” – but who would?

to a blur of a leader projected onto my future whiteboard

that wouldn’t break down- will it show us what to expect for 2021?

3. Climbing the walls in 2020

in twenty-twenty we were held

only by the silver birches, the beeches,

not those beaches, but in Epping.

we simply missed being sun-kissed

and hugged by the arms that once knew

old grins, gone in a beat, Missing-In-Action

in twenty-twenty-one our vase is still missing

the plot, its cracks let out all the

water, half empty

energies drained on pointless floral yoga,

goodbye clematis, alstromeria, gardenias-

your petals bloomed only last season

and you now pose a risk to our health,

climbing up the trellis in a resistant gang

against the locked-down iron bars of prison cell gardens.

now it’s only us who are climbing

the walls, desperate to grab a hug stuck in time,

stuck in twenty-nineteen.

4. Why?

Even Better If

the retired lines of Chronic Fatigue

scrawled by dud pens

didn’t make it onto the whiteboard,

now grey board- bored like you.

Even Better If

the wavy panic lines didn’t wash out my cheeks

and If the torn-down posters

somehow weren’t on display today,

If they just hid away in the bin.

Even Better If my mask did a Better job

of masking creases on waterlogged sheets

of paper scattered between Year 7 and 10

and if the creases on a bed unmade at 6,

weren’t unseen all day.

Even Better If we could go without

the background groans that yawn around the room

and fidget with fatigued,

unanswerable whys-

“miss, why?”

[For those reading who aren’t familiar with the ‘What Went Well’/’Even Better If’ feedback style that inspired the above poem, Why?, ‘EBI’ this is a common example of ‘Assessment for Learning’ in UK schools and suggesting how students can improve their work.]

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